The draft Independent Workers Promotion and Protection Bill aims to transform freelance work in Thailand

In response to the evolving digital landscape and the increasing reliance on electronic platforms for work, the Ministry of Labor has introduced the draft Independent Workers Promotion and Protection Bill. This Bill aims to address the challenges faced by independent workers, or semi-independent workers, who provide services through platforms like Grab, Bolt, and Robinhood.

The digital age has revolutionized the way people work and conduct transactions, with traditional cash transactions in Bangkok being replaced by digital payments such as credit cards, debit cards, and QR codes. This shift has led to the emergence of a new paradigm of work, where independent contractors play a crucial role in providing services ranging from food delivery to transportation.

Despite their essential contributions to the economy, semi-independent workers often find themselves in precarious situations due to the lack of protections provided by traditional employment laws. The  Independent Workers Promotion and Protection Bill seeks to establish a distinct category for these contractors, recognizing them as semi-independent professionals.

Key provisions of the draft bill include:

Safeguarding Semi-Independent Workers: The bill aims to protect semi-independent workers by prohibiting business operators from arbitrarily terminating their services during the resolution of complaints or serious allegations.

Regulating Agreements for Transparency and Fairness: Recognizing the importance of transparency and fairness, the bill seeks to regulate agreements between business operators and semi-independent workers to create a working relationship that respects the rights of both parties.

Strengthening Collective Bargaining Power: The bill promotes formation of worker’s unions among independent workers and semi-independent workers, empowering them to engage in collective bargaining for a more equitable working environment.

Establishing a Dedicated Committee: the Independent Workers Promotion and Protection Committee will be established to safeguard the rights and promote the well-being of independent workers, addressing emerging issues and ensuring effective implementation of the Bill.

Enhancing Well-Being: The bill proposes the establishment of a fund where members can contribute, benefits such as access to credit unions, insurance coverage, and other rights to enhance the well-being of semi-independent workers are provided. Arbitration Mechanisms for Dispute Resolution: Semi-independent workers will have the right to arbitrate labor disputes through tribunal, arbitrators, or the labor court, ensuring a fair and impartial resolution mechanism tailored to the specific nature of freelance work.